Friday, October 31, 2008

Living on Purpose

I have always been a "vision" person. I have to know why I am doing what I am doing. Without having a "big picture" of my life, I can easily become sad, confused, and aimless. My husband knows that about every three months I'll say, "where are we going and what are we doing?"

It reminds of the verse that says "without vision, the people perish". I am definitely one of those people. I like to know that what I am doing matters. That it has significance in some way. That I am living life well and intentionally and in a way that I won't regret. I regularly envision myself being about 70 years old and looking back on my life...and having this backward-glance of my life helps me make better decisions as to how I want to spend my time now.

As I have thought about my purpose the past year or so, I have wrestled and questioned and wondered. I live a quiet life and sometimes that is unsettling to me. Sometimes I think I should be doing more or be overseas or something that sounds grand or spiritual. But this quiet life has taught me about faithfulness. To do the right thing when no one is watching. To serve the "least of these"...young ones under my feet. To live my life simply unto the Lord and not unto others or societal standards or internal/external expectations of the church. That He is glorified in my simple acts of service every day. He sees.

But I have also seen that he has placed in my heart two specific purposes for this time in my life. And these two purposes give me the sustainable vision that I need when those seasons of questioning come.

Loving God and Loving Others Through Homemaking and Hospitality.

Homemaking is the platform in which I am called to gentle Savior, my dear husband and four little ones. It's also a place for me to grow and mature as a woman. To explore my creativity. To create beauty and order which grace my family. Homemaking is the most challenging job I can imagine...the myriad of tasks and hats and responsibilities and skills are incredible. And instead of viewing any of that as drudgery, I view it as a really fun challenge. Learning to decorate, sew, cook, plan, celebrate, preserve, nurture, tend, heal, help, transform, manage, delegate, steward... these are amazing and life-worthy tasks. A high calling. Rewarding and fulfilling. I am learning how to do new things all the time and I have never been so satisfied. Embrace your home and you will be embraced by it.

Hospitality is the platform in which I am called to gentle Savior, my neighbor, my small group, the stranger, the acquaintance, the lonely, the discouraged, the seeking. I have always thought of ministry being somewhere else...away from the home and from family. But God has given me a home as a haven-place to bring others in. To love them where they are. To welcome and receive. To offer and to listen. To be myself and to invite others to be themselves. It's not necessarily about grand meals or spotless floors (although I love grand meals and spotless floors :) but about community and connection and authenticity. We reach the world by starting with our neighbor. We can reach the world through having an international student over for a meal. We reach the world by inviting "the world" over for a simple meal.

So when I get my vision panties in a wad, I now come back to these two simple callings. Am I being faithful where I am right here and right now? Am I blooming where I am planted? Am I reaching my fullest potential by loving God and others through my home and hospitality? Am I learning and growing in these areas instead looking for so-called greener pastures?

I love being around people who are passionate about what they do. It's contagious. I want others who are around me to be inspired and encouraged towards living well and intentionally in their callings. And I pray that when we are seventy, we can look into each other's eyes and say "well done, friend!"... knowing that our dear Father in heaven is readying to tell us each that very same thing.

photo by Andrew.


Marianna said...

Wonderful post!

Hilty Sprouts! said...

I don't have to wait until I'm 70, I can truly say it now, "well done friend"! You continually encourage me. Thank you for answering God's call at home and in cyberspace.


Nancy said...

You can add "my blog readers" to those on the list of who you serve! I love your thoughtfulness. And I, too, am an ENFP!

Lydia said...

I love this line,

". . . about community and connection and authenticity."

Thanks for this post--very encouraging.

kelli said... have put words to my life! I read this and thought, "Oh my goodness...I could've written this post almost word for word!!!"

I, too, go through those same unsettling times, wondering if I should be doing more. God has been bringing me back to just being who I am and asks me to be content and to continue on this road He has placed me on.

I love these questions..."Am I being faithful where I am right here and right now? Am I blooming where I am planted? Am I reaching my fullest potential by loving God and others through my home and hospitality? Am I learning and growing in these areas instead looking for so-called greener pastures?"

Thank you so much for this post! It is so beautiful and true!!!

Prairie Chick said...

this post was encouraging and affirming to me. I also find myself in those valleys of questions that I have decided to label "volleys of arrows". Like you said, setting my eyes on being faithful in the "small" things (ahem... that makes me laugh, because they are in no wise small!) like the fruits of the spirit in my own interactions at home, in my neighbourhood, and in the circumstances of every moment, is what helps me stay focused and faithful. I love your heart. I think of you often and ask myself "I wish I could ask Aimee what she thinks about this". Conversations about love and grace and freedom that you just can't cover from a keyboard for their depth. But I will take what I can get of you here, and joyfully at that. God's Peace dear Aimee.

Natasa said...

You gave me a lot of questions to think about. Am I really obedient and faithful in my circumstation? I will ask Him.

Missus Wookie said...

This post resonated with me - it is something that I strive for :)

In "Quaker Faith & Practice" there are "Advices & Queries" to help guide our lives and this one has always been a favourite:

26. Do you recognise the needs and gifts of each member of your family and household, not forgetting your own? Try to make your home a place of loving friendship and enjoyment, where all who live or visit may find the peace and refreshment of God's presence.

The older version said, "Do you try to make your home a place of friendliness, refreshment and peace. Where God becomes more real to all wo live there and to those who visit it?" Both have their own challenges.

Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home said...

Thank you for this wonderful post.
I needed to be reminded that ministry at home is the most meaningful, first to our family then to others.
Beautifully written, thanks.

Aimee said...

Okay, y'all have left me weepy (and even my husband too :) Jennifer, your words were absolutely precious. And Prairie Chick, I'm speechless...seriously. Nancy, so nice to meet you...and to think that I can serve blog readers is truly a humbling thought.

Oh for a few hours in a coffee shop with deep comfy couches with you dear ones!!!!!!!!

Mrs. Pivec said...

Lovely, Aimee. So eloquent. I've not thought of thinking of my own self older and looking back. Thank you for that perspective.

shepherdsgrace said...

amen and amen...

I used to really grapple with feeling like life is so mundane and most times unchallenging...and then I went to a small mom conference with a dear friend of mine, at the height of one of these internal wrestling sessions....the Lord answered this forever and always with a song by the Above Rubies daughters called, of all things, Above Rubies...ah, the praise of God in being faithful in the mundane is all we need, and all He is asking of any of us when you think about of the main lines in the song goes...
"What am I to you, all these little things I do, do you notice, are they important in your plan? And I can hear you say, She who fears the Lord is to be praised and her worth is above rubies..."

It is true of His and forever...

Domestic Accident said...

Just beautiful, Aimee. Such a good reminder that it's not all making family dinners and wiping tushies. It's a calling.

Andrea said...

Aimee, we are two peas in a pod. I'm such a visionary person, too.
I love how you broke down your purposes--so when you are "floundering" so to speak, you can always go back to these two things. Makes complete sense.
Instead of getting bogged down by "life lists" (which I tend to do), if you simplify and be faithful to both of these callings, then you leave room for God to work and be faithful.
Thanks for being who God made you, Aimee.